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Leading Broker: Housing Incentives Fastest Route to Economic Boost, Improved Credit Rating

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image001With financial experts searching for ways to recover from last week’s stunning further downgrading of The Bahamas’ credit rating, a leading real estate broker today said one answer is right in front of our faces and up and down every block.
According to Mario Carey, incentives to encourage a flurry of activity in the housing market, both new construction and sales of existing homes, will spur economic growth in a way that no other quick fix with long-term benefits can.
“The housing market in Western societies is a leading predictor of economic health,” said Carey, founder and president of MCR, one of the country’s top property sales, leasing and management firms.
“Strong sales mean a strong and healthy economy and when sales fall off, it’s just a matter of time until you see a slide in all aspects of an economy.”
More than just an economic barometer, housing sales translate into jobs, he said.
“Every home that is sold generates three full-time jobs, according to research commissioned by the National Association of Realtors in the U.S.,” said Carey. “Here that number would be even greater. In both places, the spin-offs from home ownership are enormous and create sustainable business activity. It is not just the fees generated by the move itself but the ongoing expenses the homeowner assumes – lawn and gardening services, painting, perhaps pool or roofing or plumbing, electrical, air-conditioning, furniture, décor, appliances. There are also the benefits to government from Stamp Tax. On a luxury property sale of $10 million, for example, government immediately collects $1 million in Stamp Tax. Incentives move people at every income level. If the Stamp Tax is reduced to 6% for a specified time, the buyer considering a purchase may be prompted to complete and save a substantial sum when they split the tax with the seller.”
The highly successful broker who has handled more than one billion dollars in transactions in a career that spans three decades pointed to past successes when incentives were offered.
“When the government offered Stamp Tax exemptions for first time home buyers, we saw a tremendous response,” Carey said. “Then when the first $250,000 of a purchase was exempted from real property tax and Stamp Tax, it was another incentive and when the interest on outstanding balances of real property tax forgiveness was announced, that drove hundreds to bring their past due tax bills up to date. Incentives work and there has never been a better or more important time to introduce them to spur the housing market which in turn will show diversification of the economy leading to a strengthening of our credit rating.”
Carey has long argued that real estate should be recognized as the third pillar of the Bahamian economy, tying activity in the market to new construction, remodels, expansion and more.
“If anyone doubts how critical home ownership is to a healthy economy, look at what happens when sales slump,” says Carey. “When the housing market collapsed in 2008, it took the rest of the economy down with it and we are still feeling the repercussions, though I believe the economy is beginning its slow climb back up for the middle to upper middle class family who was so hard hit by the economic freefall.
“I encourage the government to appoint an ad hoc advisory committee comprised of real estate professionals, developers, financial institutions, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and a few successful businesspersons to report back in a relatively short period of time with recommendations for jumpstarting housing sales across the board,” said Carey. “I want to see the day when every Bahamian youngster coming out of school believes that he or she will own a home and that can be their reality. Home ownership is the single fastest route to economic prosperity. And it is one step we can take without damaging the environment or causing long-term negative impacts. It is time to explore the options.”

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News

Dog Tales to rescue 500 dogs from the Turks and Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – Stray dogs in the Turks and Caicos will be getting a new lease on life in the coming months as Dog Tales Rescue will be coming to the islands. Up to 500 stray Dogs will be recovered from Grand Turk and flown to Canada in a bid to control the dog population and give the existing strays better lives. The visit has been approved by the Turks and Caicos Islands government who revealed the project in a cabinet meeting on May 31st.

Dog Tales rescue is a Canadian-based rescue mostly focusing on dogs, cats, and horses. The sanctuary is massive, sitting on over 50 acres of land. It was started in 2014 by husband and wife duo Rob and Danielle Eden-Scheinberg.  The animals at Dog Tales Rescue get the 5-star treatment (as they should!) while they wait to be adopted into their forever homes.  The rescue provides a space for neglected and abused dogs to heal with resources including kilometers of walking trails, therapy pools, a grooming spa, and medical care if needed.  Dog Tales does not put dogs down, those who are not adopted immediately remain with the sanctuary permanently.  Since 2014 more than 2000 dogs have passed through the sanctuary.

Rather than kennels the dogs at Dog Tale have rooms that they share or occupy alone and the sanctuary really jazzes up the spaces making them as luxurious as possible.  The volunteers at the sanctuary also actively use social media to campaign for potential adoptees by doing photoshoots to entice families to take the chance to adopt animals. Soon strays from the Turks and Caicos will be in that number.  You can see Dog Tales’ most recent photoshoot here.

Dog Tales even had a TV show back in 2018 that lasted for 2 seasons!

The TCIG says they will provide “logistical and regulatory support” for the program but Dog Tales will be funding the recovery and everything else on their own. You can donate to Dog Tales here

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Health

Moderna & Pfizer approved for toddlers in US

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, June 25, 2022 – Toddlers can now be vaccinated with either Moderna or Pfizer in the United States following the US Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee vote to authorize the jabs for the youngest humans.

Some 2.5 million vaccines were ordered for these youngsters from Pfizer and 1.3 million are on order from Moderna.

The authorization committee voted unanimously on both vaccines and it comes as a relief to millions of parents who opted to keep their children away from family gatherings, even school

The lowest age a US resident can now get vaccinated is 6 months, Pfizer says their shot is ready for children six months to four years old and Moderna goes one year higher at 6 months to 5 years.  Both Pfizer and Moderna say the toddlers will need boosters in the future.

As of June 2, there have been 442 children between the ages of 0-4 years old who have died as a result of Covid-19 in the United States.

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Education

TCI Agriculture launches Plant Clinic

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – These days anything can be online, even a plant clinic! The Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Agriculture wants to help budding and experienced farmers with any plant issues they may have and their new Online Plant Clinic is their solution to help as many Islanders as possible.

Launched on Thursday, June 16 the clinic will operate through Facebook. Individuals with sick plants or pest issues will be required to take a photo of the issue and upload that photo to the department of Agriculture’s Facebook page.

Answers to issues will be given once a month, on every third Thursday, via a public video so all Islanders can have access. The launch was attended by Chief Plant Protection Officer-CPPO Roneta Huntley Thomas, Director of Agriculture Wilhelmina Kissoonsingh, Minister of Agriculture Josephine Connolly, and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Mrs. Cheryl Ann Jones.

Connolly urged residents to “grow your own food and grow TCI.”

Attendees of the launch were allowed to participate in games trying to identify different diseases for a chance at prizes. Residents can now immediately start sending in their photos on the Facebook page.

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